South Korea’s top accounting firms – Samil PwC, Samjong KPMG, Deloitte Anjin, and EY Hanyoung—are expected to cut hiring by over 30 per cent this year compared to last year. For the first time since 2020, the number of new hires among the Big 4 is predicted to be lower than the number of those qualified to become certified public accountants (CPA).
Combined, the four firms plan to hire around 800 staff, a significant drop from last year’s 1,275. The economic downturn impacted M&A deals, leading to reduced demand for consulting services and a decline in accountants leaving corporations for other sectors.
Over the past three years, the Big 4 increased their number of new accountants by 70 percent, but the situation changed in the latter half of last year. This year, with the minimum number of qualified public accountants estimated at 1,100, more competition for jobs is expected.
The Big Four are renowned for offering prime practical experience, especially in auditing major corporations. However, this year’s hiring approach is cautious, focusing on stability rather than aggressive expansion. Some accountants who had moved to other sectors for higher salaries returned to accounting firms due to the economic impact.
Overall, the accounting industry faces challenges in hiring as market conditions shift, leading to a more competitive landscape for job seekers seeking professional qualifications and experience.